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Toronto Offers Mumps Vaccinations To Young Adults At Risk

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Toronto Public Health is offering college and university students and those born in 1970 or later free mumps vaccine at clinics in Toronto through March 30, 2009.

College and university students are at higher risk because many have not received a second dose of mumps vaccine recommended for protection.

“To be more fully protected against mumps you need two shots of the mumps given as the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Medical Officer of Health for Toronto Public Health. “If you have never had the vaccine, had only one shot, or do not know your vaccination status, get vaccinated.”

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The Ontario government has funded the catch-up clinics in response to mumps outbreaks in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta and British Columbia. Many of these outbreaks have been on college and university campuses, where mumps can spread quickly due to the under-immunization of students who tend to gather frequently in close contact social situations.

Most people born between 1970 and 1991 received only a single dose of the combined MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and are at risk for mumps. To be more fully protected from contracting mumps, two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended.

People born in 1992 or after should have received two doses of the MMR vaccine. People born before 1970 are assumed to be immune to mumps through natural infection.

The vaccination is also available through family doctors for anyone who needs a second dose of MMR. All young adults are encouraged to review their personal immunization record to determine if they need a second dose of the vaccine.

Mumps is a contagious viral disease that is spread from person to person through contact with respiratory droplets from the mouth or nose of an infected person. This can happen when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Mumps can also be spread through sharing drinks or food and kissing. The virus can also survive on surfaces. Symptoms, which usually last 10 days, include fever, headache, muscle aches and pains, tiredness and loss of appetite, followed by painful swelling of salivary glands on one or both sides of the face. Mumps can have serious complications.